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Hansruedi Berchtold, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH) Flavio Casanova, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH) SIA David Geng, MSc Civil Engineering FH, Welding Engineer (EWE) Peter Imbach, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH) Adrian Keller, Attorney-at-Law Johannes Kretzschmar, MSc Architect (TH) Patrick Martin, Dr. sc. Geology Jörg Meier, Dr. Eng. Jon Mengiardi, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH), MSc Environmental Engineering (DTU) Sebastian Müller, MSc Civil Engineering (FH) Stefan Mützenberg, Ph.D. MSc Engineering Geology (ETH) Stefan Nievergelt, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH), EMBA SIA Laurent Pitteloud, MSc Civil Engineering (ETH) SIA Marco Richner, MSc, MAS Business Eng. Mgmt. Markus Ringger, Ph.D. Physicist SIA Karl-Heinz Schädle, MSc Mechanical Engineering (FH) Erwin G. Schnell, MSc Aeronautics and Space Engineering (TU) Markus Weber, MSc Electrical Engineering (FH), Business Mgmt. Engineer ISZ/SIB SIA Patrick Winzer, MSc Eng. Thomas Winzer, Dr. Eng. (TH)

150 years

Inspiration for outstanding 足performance.


> Urban Development

10 Basel celebrates the World City Award 14 Building zones in the third dimension 18 The digital building model 20 Envisioning Leipzig: between reality and utopia

> Energy

26 The solutions of the future are bio-logical 30 Sustainable design – the standard of the future 32 The turning point for energy – looking back from 2062 34 Energy from the Earth

> Traffic 42 Traffic of the future: cluster driving with electric vehicles 45 Alternative cable car 46 Individually in the externally controlled convoy

> Technology 50 The symbiosis called biogrout 54 Quo vadis, geotechnics? 56 Digital prototypes and virtual engineering in the construction industry 62 Sound is in the air 64 A day in the life 66 A journey through time

150 years

Innovation for the World of Tomorrow.


Visionary Ideas for the World of Tomorrow The history of the Gruner Group is characterized by visions and their realization. Probably the most well-known example is the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The visionary Eduard Gruner (1905–1984) had already created a sketch of the idea of the Gotthard Base Tunnel over 65 years ago, and in 1947 his concept was published in his article entitled “Reise durch den Gotthard-Basistunnel im Jahr 2000” (“A journey through the Gotthard Base Tunnel in the Year 2000”). Today, 65 years later, his vision is being celebrated as an event for the millennium. Many of the world’s most prominent minds defined the World of Tomorrow with their visions just as Eduard Gruner once contributed to the future with his dream of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. One of the greatest of these was Leonardo da Vinci. It took 400 years for his vision of flying to become reality. As engineers, planners and scientists, it’s in our nature to be both curious and c­ ritical as we observe the environment and our society. This enables us to constantly discover new developments and implement them in reality. We aim to continue doing this in order to secure the future of our company while also contributing to the world of ­tomorrow. As part of the anniversary celebrations this year, we have asked our employees to sketch their impression of the future and show what they see when they look far ahead to the year 2062. We will be sharing these ideas with you in the form of the anniversary issue. mailing.150 addresses visionary topics from the fields of urban development, energy, traffic and technology. It encourages us to think outside the box. Today we can only guess how the world will have developed come the year 2062. What we do know, however, is that excellent work from creative and passionate ­people will be needed, work which, when combined with a fruitful environment and commitment, will lay the foundation for a successful future. As an attractive employer, we offer our motivated employees a working environment that allows for visionary ideas, both today and in the future. Yours sincerely,

Flavio Casanova Chief Executive Officer

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Urban Development

The cities in fifty years will be almost free of car traffic. After they have been ­virtually tested, all buildings will be constructed to have low energy consumption. And where possible, underground space will be used. Utopian dreams or soon-­ to-be reality? Visions know no limits. The fact is, the future has already begun. The trend is clear: sustainable urban development is highly popular at present.

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> Urban Development




Basel celebrates the World City Award Basel has won the World City Award – just in time for the Gruner Group’s 200th anniversary. The jury based its decision on several factors: residential attractiveness, economic prosperity, infrastructure conditions, public services, political and social stability, as well as energy efficiency. Basel succeeded to beat out well-known competitors thanks to a rigorously implemented ­long-range approach to urban development. The Gruner Group provided reliable, innovative ­assistance with strategic planning and the execution of individual projects. Flavio Casanova, Adrian Keller, Marco Richner, Johannes Kretzschmar, Gruner Ltd, Basel

Living and working Meadow Light-rail station

Basel Rhine Birs River Underground central station

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Living and working

Basel zoo Living

City with a center function Basel has a preferred location at the bend of the Rhine in the tri-country region where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. It is here that the city has established itself as a center. With its cultural openness and excellent infrastructure, Basel connects Switzerland to Europe and the rest of the world. The surrounding ­regions have coordinated their political agendas and designed their urban planning measures and investments around Basel as the center. The city has fortified its premier global position in the life sciences thanks to attractive conditions and a pool of highly skilled workers. ETH Zurich, for example, maintains a training center in Basel for training skilled specialists. People from many different cultures live and work in the multicultural city Basel. This has been encouraged by the city and supported by urban planning measures such as combining various types of residences and carefully ­arranging residential and business zones.

Living and working

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Quelle: Bundesamt fĂźr Landestopografie

> Urban Development


Katzenberg Tunnel

Tra ns it

EuroAirport Z/Q goods

fre igh t tr affi c

r o u te

Basel Bad. Bhf. station underground light-rail facility Underground central station

Z/Q goods

Railroad line legends Today (above ground, existing) Today (underground, existing) 2062 (above ground, new) 2062 (underground, new) Border

City of short distances

2062 12  mailing.150

The jury highlighted the city’s success at coordinating transportation demand and services in a balanced and sustainable fashion despite growing mobility. By rigorously condensing development in the vertical and horizontal dimensions, Basel managed to create an urban space that not only offers a high quality of life, but also satisfies local housing needs. The city of short distances, a long-running industry dream, has become reality. In Basel, motorized private transportation is largely unnecessary: the mixed-use approach and high density maximize space and slow down traffic. Downtown Basel is also off-limits to new parks in order to encourage greater density in the city center. Basel is a positive example of how to disentangle transport infrastructure and residential areas. Though a focused approach, the city has ensured that the transport infrastructure serves its neighborhoods instead of dominating them. This has created prime residential districts without lowering the quality of services for people and businesses. Basel appears homogeneous as a result.

A look back

Hidden highway

Much of this development can be traced back to the ­visionary approach pursued by Gruner, a well established multinational engineering consultancy.

The elimination of the railway line at the Gellert ­junction provided an opportunity to hide the existing national highway from sight. People can now travel from the Gellert district to the recreation area near the Birs River without ever seeing the highway. The newly designed, double-deck Rhine bridge and the new Black Forest tunnel that runs right past the department store at the Badischer Bahnhof light rail station make it easy to forget that this kind of development had been blocked years ago by the national highway that ran ­between Hirzbrunnen and Wettstein.

Rail freight transit traffic In recent decades, Basel has effectively routed rail freight transit traffic around the city by directing it northwards at Weil am Rhein and then underground to Fricktal. Incoming and outgoing (Z/Q goods) rail freight traffic, by contrast, passes through the Basel Nord container terminal and the Weil and Muttenz railroad switchyards. The Muttenz railroad switchyard has been considerably resized and supports various types of transshipments. At the Gellert junction, the highway is routed underground via the eastern loop. The conversion of this area and Heuwaage to attractive business and residential districts nearly offsets the large sums invested in transportation infrastructure. An area for the spacious new Zoo was also created near the former Muttenz railroad switchyard.

Underground train stations Another core component in the city’s development is the underground central train station, which was designed as a through station. International long-distance traffic to Germany and France is routed directly to EuroAirport and then on to Karlsruhe via the new Rhine crossing. The Badischer Bahnhof is also a central element in the high-performance light-rail system that connects to the southern light-rail system via a rail line that runs through the center of Basel. Light-rail lines run to the Black Forest from the underground Badischer Bahnhof, which connects the lines running on the right bank of the Rhine River with those from the Wiese Valley. This design eliminated the railway line that ran along the eastern loop, including the Rhine crossing. By consistently placing the rail infrastructure at a lower elevation, space was created for new, developing areas with characteristic high-rise structures, which greatly increased the quality of life.

Kleinhüningen port The former Kleinhüningen port with its Mediterraneanlike waterways and residential buildings is a favorite spot among pedestrians and adds dynamism to the city. Cargo handling is concentrated in the expanded Auhafen port, which strengthens the Rhine shipping industry. Despite all the construction, Basel has remained a green city. Existing parks add variety to the cityscape and invite people to relax and enjoy themselves. The intact surrounding countryside boasts attractive re­creation areas that can be easily reached by bicycle or local public transportation.

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> Urban Development




Building zones in the third dimension In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare & Co., we attempt to expand and consolidate our social networks. At the same time we strive for distance and seclusion in our built-up living ­environment, even though we are aware of the consequences. An end to this trend is being ­prepared through the adaptation of current building and zoning regulations. Stefan Nievergelt, Gruner + Wepf Ingenieure AG, Zurich

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One square meter of ground is built over in Switzerland every second. Housing and urban development experts have been warning of the dangers of uncontrolled growth in living space for some time. This although the zoning regulations are attuned and adapted to current demand as part of higher-density construction. Even now, however, the hoped-for success has not been achieved. Urban sprawl in Switzerland is continuing to expand.

“Density” is tightness, little space, lack of passages. Do today’s people gladly squeeze into full public ­transport? Do they happily live and work in densely populated cities? Does denser construction make us think of “layers of concrete” and the loss of quality of life? The benefits are obvious. Lively city areas with a good mixture of work, living and leisure. Short distances and, therefore, low emissions. Optimum and efficient utilization of the infrastructure. Living in the densely populated city has an unjustly poor reputation.

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> Urban Development




A vision today, the city of tomorrow

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Zoning regulations for the third dimension The current laws and guidelines for the built environment are supposed to curb the continuing sprawl. But too many compromises were made during the process. AÂ change of paradigm must take place. Only the use of buildable space is prescribed in the zoning regulations. Height is only limited by the number of floors. The use remains the same throughout the entire building. The conflict with denser construction is precisely present in the limitation of height. It is not height that should be regulated, but use on the various levels. The living environment is not only generated on a plane, but also by height or depth. Zoning regulations that describe use from the basement to the top floors should be developed.

The remodeled living environment on various levels

Where appropriate, the existing building stock will not be demolished, but surrounded by high-rises, and their use adapted accordingly. Work will take place on floors located close to the ground. The so-called mixed zone starts at the 10th floor. This is where leisure and cultural offerings, shopping and hospitality businesses are ­located. The third traffic level is located at the same plane. The residential zone begins above this in a sunny location. The roofs are developed as green spaces for sustainable infrastructure operation and as recreational space for residents of the vertical city.

A vision today, the city of tomorrow With the formation of various traffic levels, a network is spun between the integrated residential, mixed and work towers. They interact and pulsate like clusters with unstoppable power of innovation. The current virtual networks of friends and business partners in the World Wide Web are reflected in the city of tomorrow.

The existing public transport infrastructure will be integrated into the new city concept and enables connections over middle and longer distances. In favor of more open space between buildings, individual and delivery traffic will be transferred below ground. The existing underground garages will be linked to each other through connecting tunnels. A fast network, accessible throughout the entire underground level, will be created using subterranean ring roads with occasional entries. Road pricing and space-saving, fully automatic car parks at the entry axes should provide an incentive to use public transport on the one hand, and finance the infrastructure that was created and maintained for it on the other. A third traffic level will be installed in the airy heights. This circulation zone only serves so-called slow traffic for short to middle distances, whether by means of connecting bridges, channels stabilized by wind currents, or new cable structures: pedestrians, mopeds, rollerblades, electric minivehicles or moving sidewalks of the type we currently know from airports, as well as cable cars that glide through the air quickly and silently.

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> Urban Development




The digital building model The advantages of digital engineering: virtual tour, networked building information, lower costs. Markus Weber, Kiwi Systemingenieure und Berater AG, Dübendorf

The building in the year 2050

design, construction and management of buildings while creating new jobs in the software and services fields. Digital engineering, i.e. digital networking of all stages in the value creation chain, is the name of the challenge.

Buildings will be so intelligently constructed in 2050 that they will hardly need any additional heating. ­Inside, there are illuminated ceilings and transparent light walls of glowing plastics as well as wall-filling displays that open up the three-dimensional world of the new Internet with a verbal command or gesture.

Developed virtually

3-D movies are a matter of course, as are department store browsing, museum visits or fantasy game worlds – so real, it feels as if you are there. Universities offer worldwide learning: a lecture in Tokyo in the morning, a seminar at Harvard in the evening – no problem with Internet of tomorrow. This is how the future is forecast in Pictures of the Future, Siemens’ magazine for research and innovation.

In 2050, the building is developed virtually, tested with virtual simulators, occupied virtually by the users and continuously optimized with these “virtual findings” before it is built in the real world. In the process, ­experiences with other completed buildings, products and technologies used are also taken into account ­online. Virtual models will significantly simplify the design, not only reducing costs but also minimizing sources of ­error.

But how will these buildings be designed and constructed? What innovations will modify the processes that are known today? If analogies to other economic sectors are made, further automation will also penetrate into the

There will be a single, common database at the heart of every building which can not only be accessed by the designers, but also by the suppliers and product and technology developers. This database, in constant growth

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Industrially manufactured The building of the future will be systematically broken down into modules and comprehensively integrated and detailed. This enables most of the building to be composed of a manageable number of replicable individual components and equipment modules without limiting architectonic variety. Standardization is only appropriate where an individual character is not required. This will turn buildings into “built repetitions” similar to what we already know today in automobile and machinery manufacturing. Fewer designs will be drawn and more will be recorded in databanks. At the same time, enormous potential for the acceleration of execution and reduction of construction costs is created. Expensive production on the construction site is replaced by industrial prefabrication in the workshop.

Acting like a computer game

from the conception, design and construction phases up to commissioning, will also be kept constantly up to date thereafter with data from the operations phase and remain available throughout the entire life cycle of the building. The consistency of data throughout all disciplines and covering the entire life cycle brings enormous advantages: It allows the time for design, later conversion or refurbishment of a building to be reduced considerably, saving expenses, energy and resources. It allows the building to be examined in terms of ecological and economic issues at any time, and alternatives can be verified in a matter of seconds. Alternatives that were, perhaps, only developed in the course of the building’s use. Always from a holistic viewpoint with equal consideration given to shape/design, construction, building services and costs.

Since every employee involved in the building design process – even across companies and locations – has access to the same, constantly updated database, they can be integrated even more effectively into the planning and design. Using virtual reality, true-scale development models can also be reviewed and discussed in a spatial environment created by the computer. We can achieve completely new dimensions with the use of technologies, in the same way as video games, to replicate complex physical processes and convey a realistic environment. This allows complex geometries, realistic movements and every possible environmental conditions together with user behavior to be simulated and to depict them as realistically as if you were actually there. As a result, buildings will be able to be developed downright playfully in a seemingly highly realistic ­environment in the future. The program simulates building behavior in real time and 3-D, and, as in a computer game, the designer or future user can intervene in the ongoing simulation.

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> Urban Development




Envisioning Leipzig: between reality and utopia Major sports or cultural events can only be held near urban centers if there is highly functional infrastructure that enables a high level of mobility without hindering or preventing residents from going about their everyday business. Sebastian Müller, Gruner + Partner GmbH, Leipzig

When Leipzig put in its visionary bid for the 2012 ­Olympics, the most pressing issue for the city and its 500,000+ residents was how to develop the traffic infrastructure to and from the central stadium, located only approx. 3.5 km from downtown Leipzig, so that it would be possible to safely and effectively direct the expected throngs of visitors – up to 100,000 – to the stadium if Leipzig were chosen to host the Games.

A city train tunnel to siphon off traffic Under the direction of the local transit authority Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe, in 2004 the Gruner Group began helping to study ways to establish a high-speed, high-capacity public transportation link between Leipzig’s stadium and its main traffic hub, the central train station. In the process, however, the project needed to minimize any adverse impacts on daily living activities in residential areas. Efforts focused on optimizing and expanding the traffic infrastructure on a route that led through three streets: Ranstädter Steinweg, Waldplatz and Jahnallee. Much like Eduard Gruner, who dreamed of building a continuous Gotthard Base Tunnel 150 years ago, the Leipzig project team soon had a vision of its own: to build a city train tunnel ­under Ranstädter Steinweg and Jahnallee. The Gruner Group analyzed the feasibility of this idea.

Feasibility study for verification The feasibility study identified ways to divide the total length of approx. 3,600 meters into open, above-ground sections and closed tunnel sections using individual city train stops in strategically favorable locations.

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The feasibility study for the particular city train tunnel at Ranstädter Steinweg/Jahnallee focused on the ­following questions and considerations: – Geological conditions of the relevant section – Possible light-rail route designs (open or closed ­construction above or below ground) – Options for designing stops and connecting junctions – Compliance with and/or feasibility of specific technical parameters – Environmentally responsible project execution – Urban design/historic preservation – Analysis and integration of Leipzig’s utility supply system The Gruner Group concluded that the project was technically feasible. The tunnel could be built in sections using the cut-and-cover method. The section between the Waldplatz and Goerdelerring stops could be built using a closed construction method with a slurry shield and two tubes.

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> Urban Development




Outlook Twenty-first century technology is certainly sophisticated enough to complete large and complex ­urban ­construction projects to be in compliance with quality and e ­ nvironmental standards. Unfortunately, the IOC did not have the courage to follow through on its initial ­vision of choosing a city that could host compact, yet highly sustainable games in a manageable action radius. Leipzig, contrary to expectations, was not even named a candidate city in the 2012 Olympic selection process. In the end, the competition was won by L­ ondon, Europe’s largest capital city with nearly 10 million residents. As a result, Leipzig’s urban planning deliberations have not made it past the vision stage – at least for now. ­After all, there is always a second chance.

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2062 Leipzig will probably not compete to host the Olympic Games any time soon. Whether Leipzig will build a ­visionary city train tunnel in the foreseeable future – that is, in the next 50 years – will probably depend on the goals and standards that this modern, attractive and diverse city has set for itself and its politically mature citizens. Since one of the keys to personal growth is taking on new challenges and responsibilities, no idea is too far-fetched to be considered and, in the best case, realized.

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Energy We would like to breath clear air, drink clean water and eat unpolluted food. Not always an easy undertaking, in view of ever-scarcer resources combined with rapidly increasing environmental pollution. Questions of sustainability and environment are burning issues. The future is in our hands.

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Urban Development > Energy



The solutions of the future are bio-logical

There is something fascinating about watching a traffic roundabout. Apparently guided by an unseen hand, it ­functions even under very large traffic loads. No other ­technology that controls and regulates a process is so ­effective. This solution is practically a work of genius in its simplicity. And right behind it is hidden one of the great challenges for our future: to design systems that can do considerably more with less effort. Jon Mengiardi, Gruner Ltd, Basel

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The eight basic rules of biocybernetics*

1 Negative feedback must predominate over positive feedback

2 Functioning of the system must be independent of quantitative growth

3 The system must be function-oriented and not product-oriented

4 E xploitation of existing forces according to the Jiu-jitsu principle instead of fighting according to the boxer method

5M  ultiple use of products, functions and organizational structures

6 Recycling: application of cycle processes for waste recycling

7 Symbiosis: mutual utilization of diversity through feedback and exchange

8 Biological design of products, processes and organizational forms through feedback design

Perhaps without consciously realizing it, principles from nature are being applied in the traffic roundabout. Bionics (a blend of biology and technology) emerged about 50 years ago. Bionics is the systematic recognition of solutions from the natural world, differentiating it from pure inspiration from nature. ­Leonardo da Vinci is considered as one of the great ­pioneers of bionics. Today, nature’s solutions are mainly re-created in technical applications. Borrowing from nature’s bag of tricks has, for example, improved the aerodynamics of aircraft or the driving characteristics of tires. It is the discoverer of the lotus effect we have to thank for façades that, like lotus leaves, clean themselves and cars that look like boxfish. Behind this is the recognition that nature is greatly superior to us in terms of efficiency and solution strategies. Millions of years of evolution have created brilliant solutions. How gladly we would implement the efficiency of the glowworm in our lamps today (about four times better than LEDs) or be able to even approximately reproduce the properties of a spider’s thread (stronger than steel, more elastic than rubber or nylon, tougher than kevlar). Even less widespread is the application of bionics to the design of systems (biocybernetics). At a time when current systems such as mobility, energy and even the economy threaten to fail, with massive consequences, functioning has become a buzzword. It is not simply a matter of optimizing the individual elements of a system, but especially designing their interdependencies and interactions correctly. One of the pioneers of biocybernetics, Frederic Vester*, recognized eight basic principles, that are now more relevant than ever: – Negative feedback must predominate over positive feedback. – The functioning of the system must be independent of quantitative growth. – The system must be function-oriented and not productoriented. – Exploitation of existing forces according to the ­Jiu-Jitsu principle instead of fighting according to the boxer method. – Multiple use of products, functions and organizational structures. – Recycling: application of cycle processes for emissions utilization. – Symbiosis: mutual utilization of diversity through feedback and exchange. – Biological design of products, processes and organizational forms through feedback design.

* Frederic Vester, 1999; The Art of Interconnected Thinking

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Urban Development > Energy



It means abandoning the one-sided viewpoint of ­construction and technology, economy or sociology and seeing nature, construction and technology as networked parts of the overall system.

One system, many suppliers Applied to our greatest challenges, such as the future of our energy system, the principles lead to solutions different from those most often presented today. This future is diverse and intelligent. Ultralight vehicles will be highly efficient, depending on climate and weather, our buildings will change from permanent

consumers to small power plants. Electricity produced by a multitude of small to medium facilities for renewable energy such as sun, wind, water, geothermal or biomass, will be prevalent everywhere as a clean energy source. Smart power grids will be in a position to handle the multitude of producers and users, keeping storage needs as low as possible. The preparation and integration of storage capacity in the overall system therefore forms an important precondition for such grids. The (electrical) storage requirement will be prepared with a variety of solutions. Electrochemical power storage balances short-term variations, the medium to long-



Production Transmission

Electric vehicles


Production, smart home

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term energy storage takes place chemically with either hydrogen or synthetic methane. Heat storage consisting of short, medium and seasonal storage will be used, ­especially for the operation of buildings. In addition to this physical and technical infrastructure, good, ­cybernetically designed incentive systems will manage mankind’s careful and efficient handling of available energy. A system composed of numerous partial systems similar to the idea of a federal structure.


ionality (obj funct ect ed ive r i s Concept s) De

Construction measures

Organizational measures

Project management

Technical measures



The advantages at a glance A system of this kind may certainly not be as spectacular as a giant solar facility in the Sahara, but it offers multiple advantages. It is highly efficient and extremely robust (high operating security even with load variations or failure of individual components), is optimized with respect to damaging effects, offers high, and above all, conflict-free supply security and can be operated with lower risks. Such solution approaches also have the ­advantage of being able to respond flexibly to changed requirements. So transformation of the current energy system, that has been based on oil, gas and coal until now, is one of the greatest challenges that must be overcome.

The future belongs to bio-logic The development of such bio-logical systems offers an enormous opportunity for us engineers. Combining mankind, construction, technology and nature and their interdependencies into a perfectly functioning unit is a major task. But a solvable one. After all, who would have thought, 20 years ago, that the traffic roundabout would catch on so successfully? Today we really should ask ourselves, “Why didn’t we think of that much ­sooner?” mailing.150  29

Urban Development > Energy



Sustainable design – the standard of the future Ecology not only determines the mobility agenda, but construction and housing as well. An energy-efficient scenario for our housing and surroundings 50 years from now. David Geng, Gruner Ingenieure AG, Brugg

Below ground If structural, mechanical and functional requirements are precisely coordinated in the overall design of ­underground residential developments, numerous ­advantages arise. One lies in the use of inexhaustible ground heat. So much will be recovered at low cost that no additional energy will be needed for apartment heating and hot-water preparation. The residences will remain pleasantly cool in summer months, thanks to their complete integration with the soil.

Masdar (UAE) inspires denser construcion above ground and in the underground

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A further major advantage lies in the reduction of ground sealing. The areas freed up by the new building methods on the Earth’s surface will be returned to ­nature. In areas with underground residences, the surrounding landscape will hardly differ from today’s ­agriculture and forest areas. The new green spaces and forests will be used by humans for recreation on the one hand, and left as wildlife habitat on the other. A portion of the green spaces will be used agriculturally and contribute to feeding the population. The growing forest mass will be in balance with energy requirements and serve as an important energy source and storage. Thanks to the new building methods, Europe will be the Earth’s second lung, alongside with the Amazon region.

Clean energy On the Earth’s surface, the “Green Dot” (building permit) will only be awarded if the building can demonstrate a 100% energy surplus, which presupposes sophisticated overall design. A compact building structure and building mobility are decisive in this positive energy balance. The building is mobile because it can rotate on its own axis and is thus always ideally oriented with regard to the sun. Due to the high efficiency of energy recovery and the production of renewable energy, the aboveground building is in a position to produce twice as much energy as it requires. There will be increased reliance on energy systems from small, private wind and water power plants for generating energy, exactly like the windmill and water wheel model (with and without mill ponds as energy storage). The slogan “whoever has energy, has power” captures the trend. Energy recovery is a key issue in the municipal civil engineering field. The energy recovery efficiency of newly designed sewer networks and water treatment systems must be demonstrated before awarded the “Green Dot.”

The goal of powering all public facilities with recovered energy was already attained in many communities by 2062.

Unencumbered living The demolition and remodeling of contaminated sites from the early years of the 21st century is another important issue. We identified and analyzed contaminated site locations at an early stage. Using a mobile chemistry and physics laboratory developed with a partner, we have the opportunity to selectively demolish them and make the contaminated areas accessible again. Gruner has been the leading provider of energy- and resource-conserving buildings in Central Europe for 50 years. We recognized the signs of the times at an early stage and got involved in the tasks of tomorrow. We are equipped for the tasks and problems of tomorrow and look forward to the work ahead and challenges to be overcome. There’s a lot to be done the day after tomorrow as well, so let’s start right now! We are the creators of the day after tomorrow.

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Urban Development > Energy



The turning point for energy – looking back from 2062 Was it fear or courage, a panic reaction or consistency that led Switzerland to abandon atomic energy 50 years ago? It is said that a lot of politicking took place and many contradictory forecasts were made. There were no long-term solutions or alternatives for the energy future on the table. The thinking and actions of politicians and power suppliers is said to have been short term and driven by the economics. One thing is for sure: it was a hot topic, and no one wanted to burn their fingers. Be that as it may, we coped with the turn really well. But only after the engineers presented innovative solutions and were thus able to convince both politicians and the wider public. Once again, the tradition of Swiss engineering skill, with its enormous pioneering contributions, rose above the petty thinking that is so often attributed to the Swiss. Dr. Stefan Mützenberg, Gruner Ltd, Basel

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tion after the withdrawal from atomic e ­ nergy. But then the high-performance geothermal power plants, together with large wind and solar power plants in northern and southern Europe, grew into m ­ ajor net electricity producers. But we have to thank buildings and electric vehicles for the real breakthrough in the energy turnaround. While buildings were still the largest energy users 50 years ago, today most residential and commercial property is energy neutral thanks to energy-efficient construction and smart building technology. Energy consumption and ­energy output of all buildings on the grid stays in balance, viewing the year as a whole. Electric vehicles u ­ ndoubtedly remain net energy consumers. However, at night, or during the day when they are plugged in at home or the office, they can deliver energy from their batteries to the grid, depending on individual need.

About 50 years ago, hydroelectric power in Switzerland experienced a boom after many years of cautious development. Pump storage facilities for energy storage and grid balancing, in particular, experienced a rapid increase. Initially, considerable skepticism prevailed concerning their cost-effectiveness; the future develop­ ment of electricity had become too uncertain in ­Europe. Somewhat reluctantly and with a guilty conscience, additional gas-fired, combined-cycle power plants were built. They certainly made a contribution to the transi-

This complex electric traffic could only finally emerge thanks to large controllable energy buffers or electricitybalancing basins. This inspired visionary civil, mecha­ nical, electrical engineers and other specialists to jointly develop pumped storage technology with a new generation of flexibly operable pump turbines. ­Construction of the first prototype of a completely ­underground facility soon followed. This allowed the strict requirements of environmental protection and conservation to be taken into account and the increasing natural hazards in high alpine areas to be avoided. The newly developed, dumbbell-shaped facility consisted of an upper and lower water reservoir cavern below ground. These are connected with vertical pressure shafts through pump turbines which can be operated under very variable pressure levels. Within a few years, many facilities using the same concept were constructed in the excellent geological conditions of the granitic massifs of the Alps. Even the initial doubts about the capacity of high voltage lines were quickly forgotten. Where open-air lines once hung on masts, high voltage electrical highways now run underground all over Europe and as far as Africa. So what was already long standard for gas and petroleum oil 50 years ago will finally be implemented for electricity: electricity pipelines below ground, that are finally efficient to manufacture, operate and maintain, thanks to new insulation materials. Who would have thought 50 years ago that Europe-wide power storage and control would one day become Switzerland’s most important economic sector and would soon overtake the outdated and crisis-prone banking industry? Our topography and position in the heart of Europe provided the best opportunities for becoming Europe’s most important power player.

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Urban Development > Energy



Energy from the Earth High-performance geothermal energy as a replacement for nuclear reactors The idea of obtaining electricity from the depths of the earth has, at the latest, taken on central importance in energy discussion following the politically motivated renunciation of nuclear energy. The technology implemented in the Basel “Deep Heat Mining” project must also be reconsidered and further developed. The facility size should be designed to provide enough renewable energy to cover the gaps in electricity supply arising from the shutdown of nuclear energy plants. Laurent Pitteloud, Gruner Ltd, Basel; Karl-Heinz Schädle, G ­ runeko Schweiz AG, Basel

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The Earth as an energy source The Earth is a hot ball with a temperature of over 1,000°C. Only about 1% of the Earth’s volume has a temperature below 100 °C. At a depth of 3,000 to 5,000 m under the surface of the ground in Switzerland, there is a quantity of energy that would cover the country’s annual electricity consumption 1,000 times over. Geothermal energy uses the Earth’s heat for electricity and heat production. In the process, heat is collected in the depths, transported to the surface and is converted there to a usable energy form (heat or electricity) for consumers. Large-scale exploitation of geothermal energy in Switzerland has so far been extremely limited, due to the absence of geological conditions (deep aquifers, i.e. water-bearing layers below ground) or because of seismic risk (triggering earthquakes by construction of open geothermal storage). We present a solution here which could increase the f­ uture production of electricity and heat at geothermal e ­ nergy facilities, despite the limitations mentioned before.

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–1000 m

–2000 m

–3000 m

–4000 m

–5000 m

–6000 m

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High-performance geothermal energy – the construction The high-power geothermal energy facility consists of a central shaft several meters in diameter that is excavated to a depth of 2,500 to 3,000 m. Initially, this shaft terminates in a large cavern which houses all important subterranean equipment and assembly machines. Arranged around the axis of the central shaft in this main cavern, banana-shaped heat-collecting tubes extend to a depth of 6,000 m. In addition, the central shaft is extended to the final depth of the heat collector tubes where those tubes can be combined into a common collector tube. Water is transported from this collector to the underground power plant near the surface. In the power plant, the heat is transferred to the working medium. A turbine and generator are driven with this medium and electric energy is created. The quantity of energy is the equivalent of a large contemporary power plant of up to 500 MW output, depending on type and size. The waste heat from the process can be sent to a district-heating network, so placement in an urban area makes sense. The temperatures of many districtheating networks have been continuously reduced in recent years, so they can now be operated year-round with the waste heat produced by the geothermal power plant. This ensures an overall excellent level of efficiency at the geothermal energy facility and power plant.

Fully automated mechanical driving for geothermal energy tunneling A production technology must be selected for the ­construction of deep geothermal energy facilities that virtually excludes the possibility of triggering earthquakes. Mechanized tunnel boring machinery technology is basically suitable for this. Since this also opens up the way to larger diameters, it allows consideration of considerably higher electricity production capacity than past deep geothermal energy projects in which the lowest strand did not exceed a diameter of a few decimeters. The 6,000 m deep central shaft can be created with this proven technology.

At a depth of 6,000 m, the rock temperature is between 150° and 200 °C. A fully automated production technology is therefore necessary under normal circumstances. To ensure this full automation, comprehensive further development of production as compared to today is needed. But manned operations must be planned for accidents, overhauls and maintenance. Highly specialized workers in air-conditioned suits could undertake work at great depth that machines and robots could not do. The heat collection tubes will be automatically created by robots. Every heat tube has a length of several thousand meters. Depending on the size and output of the power plant, several hundred collector tubes will be excavated.

High-powered geothermal energy instead of nuclear electricity production The geothermal energy power plant described above can be built for electrical outputs up to 500 MW, m ­ aking it a true replacement for existing nuclear power plants. A great advantage of this system is its excellent flexibility. The power plant can be operated as a base load power plant, but excellent adjustability using a pump and heat exchanger system also makes it highly suitable as a peak load power plant. This makes it an ideal extension of solar panel systems, which are subject to large variations in output due to their dependence on solar radiation. Overall, the technology described provides a realistic possibility of establishing regenerative electricity production with a combination of small solar panel systems and large geothermal power plants, thus becoming less dependent on gas and oil imports. In addition, emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2) from electricity and heat production will be practically eliminated. We are convinced that geothermal energy will play a key role in the regenerative energy production of the future, which is why Gruner has already begun developing geothermal solutions for the energy-based challenges of tomorrow.

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Company history The Gruner Group.

Hydraulic engineering expertise The foundation was laid in the 19th century.

Gotthard Base Tunnel: A vision becomes reality.

Š AlpTransit Gotthard AG

Tunnel construction

Innovation for the World of Tomorrow. General Planning Structural Design Building Services Energy Facilities Utilities Civil Engineering Environment Safety Special Services

150 years

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Traffic The population expands and traffic grows with it. New concepts are called for. Batteries, fuel cells and if need be biodiesel or ethanol should replace traditional fuels in the near future. But that will not be enough. The challenges must be addressed comprehensively, using remote-controlled traffic flow optimization, for example.

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Urban Development

Energy > Traffic


Traffic of the future: Self-driving electric vehicles swarming Traffic flow on high-capacity highways will be revolutionized by new technologies. After ­inputting the destination, electric vehicles with a battery range of up to 400 km will be ­automatically ­directed to a lane on the highway that is only used by vehicles with a similar destination. Advanced spacing systems enable vehicles swarming at high speeds with a few ­inches clearance. A robot takes over steering of the vehicle. Energy consumption is minimized, capacity is maximized and travel time is reduced. “Filling up” is taken care of in the slow, right-hand lane by electromagnetic induction during the journey. Trucks also travel there taking the necessary energy directly from the lane and thus need no batteries while on the highway. This lane corresponds to the current breakdown lane and is a “donated” waste product of the new system. The capacity of current facilities is multiplied without physical expansion; at the same time, energy consumption drops dramatically without the presence of local emissions – an ­unbeatable political argument for Switzerland. Dr. Thomas Winzer, Gruner Ltd, Basel; P ­ atrick Winzer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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Motorized individual transport will not have been eliminated in 2060, but developed to be capable and environmentally friendly using new technologies. The existing Swiss high-capacity highway network provides ideal preconditions for this: With currently planned network expansions and those that will be completed by then, it connects every agglomeration with a closed and uniform highway system that, with its high density of connections – on average there is a connection every 4 km – presents an ideal circulation effect.

Relaxed driving Thanks to advances in battery technology, primarily electric vehicles that have the ability to travel 200 to 400 km under electric power will be on the road. Upon entering a highway, the driver enters a technically closed, autonomous and intelligent system. He then specifies the destination by a voice command that the vehicle responds to independently. The driver can ­relax, his vehicle will be steered correctly and autonomously. Depending upon the destination, it automatically selects one of the up to four lanes: on the left and, if necessary, in the middle at high speed (up to 200 km/h) for distant destinations, on the right and slower (100 km/h) for closer destinations. With the help of carto-X communications, sophisticated radar measuring technology and control algorithms, the vehicle will be assigned to group of vehicles with the same destination. When exiting, the driver resumes control in the deceleration lane.

Arriving safely* By implementing these vehicle groups, moving in high speed and minimum spacing, the current highway ­capacity is greatly increased. Further lane additions are no longer needed. Accidents no longer happen. Due to the reliability of electric drive trains, breakdowns are highly unusual and disabled vehicles can be pushed along by the vehicle behind. This makes the breakdown

lane that is required today unnecessary and it can be put to b ­ etter use as an additional travel lane. The breakdown lane conversion to temporary travel lane proposal currently being proposed by the Federal Road Office thus fits into our strategy.

Ecologically optimized and fast An important advantage of the system is that despite “collective driving” no additional, collective drive system is necessary, owing to the drive systems that are already present in every vehicle. Every vehicle brings its own motor power to the common group. Driving in groups thus brings some advantages: Since the distance between the vehicles is maintained at a few inches, while all safety regulations are being observed, the aerodynamics of a vehicle are dramatically improved

* Capacity of a traffic system Traffic capacity is defined as vehicle kilometers per unit of time. Expressed differently, that is vehicles times kilometers per hour or vehicles times speed. High performance is therefore provided by small distances between the vehicles and high speed. However, the braking distance increases with the square of speed at increased speeds; the spaces become larger and performance drops. Today, the optimal speed for high performance on high-performance roads is thus between 60 and 80 km/h. With our system, driving will take place at speeds well over 120 km/h up to 200 km/h with minimal spacing (depending on the existing design elements, for example between Zurich and Bern). The performance capacity is more than doubled compared to today – without any added lanes. Given the space conditions in Switzerland and an environment opposed to expansion, an unparalleled, quantum leap in transport solution.

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Urban Development

Energy > Traffic


(except for the leader, who is unlucky, but is replaced at intervals). Energy consumption, which at high speeds is primarily a result of wind resistance, falls tremendously. Even lower-performance vehicles can participate in high-speed traffic. However, they must pay a contribution, since they are not qualified to be at the front of the line. The vehicle group can be viewed as a computer cluster: While each vehicle independently carries out control of distance, speed and direction, the group calculates the optimum overall strategy. The corresponding set points are calculated for each vehicle in real time, and in ­addition, the threading of individual vehicles into and out of the group and the relief of the leader is controlled by the group.

Inductive charging** of renewable energy When fuel is low, the vehicle is moved over to the right lane, which features a continuous charging facility for inductive charging of vehicle batteries. This lane is also used by slower, heavy transport which can thus travel long distances without interruption or dependence on large batteries. The heavy transport can also travel in groups but these must be kept smaller to maintain an a ­ dequate number of gaps for other traffic users and to allow for merging traffic. 44  mailing.150

In 2060, the electric energy that is made available to traffic participants in the right lane is mainly obtained from renewable energy sources. Some of it is even produced on the highway by photovoltaic cells and wind energy. Particularly in Switzerland, the uncertain availability of this energy form can easily be buffered

** Inductive charging

In inductive charging, the magnetic linkage between coils is used for energy transfer. There are two parallel conductors which carry opposing high-frequency current along the road, directly under the road surface. This creates a magnetic field of the same frequency at right angles to the road. A horizontal coil is installed in the vehicle and is penetrated by this magnetic field. A voltage is induced in the vehicle coil by the cyclical changes in the magnetic field (transformer principle) and is first rectified. The battery can be charged with this voltage or the motor can be supplied directly through a frequency inverter. There is shielding directly above the coil so that practically no field penetrates the vehicle itself. There are three reasons for this: First, losses from eddy currents are minimized, secondly, the vehicle electronics are not affected, and third even electrical smog opponents can participate in motorized individual transport with a clear conscience.

and compensated for by the large number of pumped storage power plants. Switzerland is ideal for this system because the battery charge from a single charging procedure is sufficient for all distances within the country. Due to location and ecological advantages, it was the first country to under­ take extensive research efforts in this technology and consequently became the worldwide market leader.

Alternative cable car

Rolling on foot In pedestrian traffic within the agglomerations, work is also carried out with adjacent walking lanes of different speeds to attain high capacities and speeds and thus improve the modal split in favor of pedestrian traffic. These walking lanes consist of mechanically driven conveyor belts that pedestrians can switch between. Here, however, spacing is still determined by humans.

The notorious overloading of the national road network and the increasing need for greater mobility demand the expansion of capacities. Peter Imbach, Gruner + Wepf Ingenieure AG, Zurich To increase long-term capacity on the existing highways, vehicles must keep closer together, in front and on either side, and be driven faster. Installation of ­cable cars in existing routes constitutes a proven ­system of this kind (San Francisco Cable Cars). Relatively low-powered electric cars travel independently on ­secondary roads. This preserves individuality. When traveling long distances, you plug into a gap on a cable in the highway, under computer control, and arrive at the destination without using personal motive power and without changeovers, but quickly and safely. mailing.150  45

Urban Development

Energy > Traffic


Individually in the externally controlled convoy Linked transport modes are faster, safer, more energy efficient and thus more effective than normally operated roads. In the future, autonomous and individual transport containers will travel in convoys on our main axes under external control. ­Hansruedi Berchtold, Berchtold + Eicher Bauingenieure AG, Zug

The introduction takes place in stages, during which bottlenecks and expansion needs can be eliminated. Freight traffic, for which research projects are already underway, could be treated with priority. With limited initial system capacity, a reservation system would be applied, particularly for trucks. The vision will develop in stages, from individual track laying to externally controlled convoys and ­vehicle packages with external energy input. With the anticipated ­increase in transport capacity, individual use of our road system will remain possible. The convoys will only be operated on the major traffic axes. Local connections (traffic flow from residence to the axis) takes place in conventional, individual traffic, in order to eliminate the weakness of currently operating rail systems. Individual transport containers are added to and discharged from the convoy at the docking points on convoy axes. The individual road users determiners their own schedule. They travel in their vehicle from their home to their destination and drive in the convoy, comfortably and externally controlled, in their own transport container. They determine their traveling comfort, their baggage, their route and their traveling companion. The vehicle from his private garage continues to define the social status of its owner.

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Vehicle convoy scheme Energy supply Traffic computer Control

Demand and reservation

Control wire and energy supply


Docking point

Shopping center

1234 4321 Lanes


Drainage Personal transport

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Technology One advance follows another. The new becomes immediately old and is overtaken. This is the way of the world. But it is faster now than it has ever been. We are in a phase of accelerating ­technological change. Where will this lead us in coming years? How can we r­ espond and to what extent do we need to respond?

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Urban Development


Traffic > Technology

The symbiosis called biogrout With increased surface use worldwide, construction projects venture ever further into ­areas ­offering unfavorable soil conditions. Especially in Switzerland, very weak, loose rock is ­frequently present in (the primarily usable) valley floors that must be used as building land. At the same time, building loads and demands on foundations increase. Without ­supplementary measures, large differential settling, resulting in tilting and building damage, would soon o ­ ccur here. Under these conditions, supplementary measures such as injections or piles are often unavoidable. Laurent Pitteloud, Dr. Jörg Meier, Gruner Ltd, Basel

Injection is now used in various ways in civil engineering: with high or low pressure and very varied materials (cement, ultra-fine cement, soft gel, etc.). The disadvantage of these methods is the comparatively high expense combined with uncertain quality – despite the most careful implementation. Piles certainly offer superior quality assurance but are not an appropriate solution for every subsoil improvement application. Today, a very interesting approach that may provide a possible answer to the defects in classic injection technologies is being pursued at various research ­facilities. With the help of bacteria, the local soil structure will be changed so much that an increase in strength properties results. For example, the focus is on organisms whose lime-containing excretions “glue” the soil particles together. So-called “biogrout” is thus the symbiosis of geotechnology and biotechnology.

How it works Bacteria are the dominant microorganisms in soils. They have dimensions of approximately 0.5 to 5 µm, making them considerably smaller than the grains of gravels, sands and in part even silts. Consequently, they can easily move in the pores of such soils. In the course of hydrolysis of urea, lime (calcium carbonate) is excreted by Bacillus pasteurii bacteria. These lime excretions deposit themselves on the soil grains and cause a stabilization of the original material. At the same time, the lime deposits close the soil pores, forming a grouting medium. 50  mailing.150

Microbiologically generated lime crystals on sand grains ­ (Delft Technical University  – Deltares)

Soil improvement under Building 52 using microfine cement injection

The difficulty of this method is to create a ­favorable environment for the bacteria so the excre­-tion process is greatly encouraged. This is basically achieved by means of a calcium lactate solution.

Practical experience The 20 m excavation for the high-rise Roche Building 1 in Basel was completed in March 2012. At the western end of the building excavation stands Building 52, a 60 m high reinforced concrete structure with a slab

foundation at a depth of 6 m. Despite installation of a secant pile wall, unacceptable risk of settlement and tilting could be expected due to excavation alongside Building 52. To confront this situation, the Gruner ­design team decided to carry out soil improvement ­beneath Building 52 using ultra-fine cement injections. This a ­ ction, combined with the concept of a low-deformation retaining wall, produced a very positive result. Building 52 only settled a few millimeters and experienced no tilting. mailing.150  51

Urban Development


Traffic > Technology

Through the use of ­compression members, such as drilled piles or micropiles, biogrout ­enables completely new ­perspectives in geo-­ technology.

Laboratory test of a microbiologically activated stabilization of gravel (Delft Technical University  – Deltares)

Image of Bacillus pasteurii bacteria

Biogrouting would also lend itself as an alternative to ultra-fine cement injections for soil improvement under Building 52. Biogrouting could also be more efficient and cheaper in some circumstances. The possibility of reversing the soil improvement after completion of ­excavation and construction of Building 1 would also be ­elegant. Especially for buildings in groundwater, ­dismantling of that kind is required by low, which today is technically feasible and economically supportable in very few cases. Expensive alternative solutions must therefore be planned and adopted. With a reversible ­biogrouting process, the original soil condition could be restored, thus satisfying the statutory requirements. 52  mailing.150

The future belongs to biogrout Intense work is currently being done on a commercial biogrout application. Targeted activation and deactivation of the biogrout process and/or organisms, for example, are to be optimized. It must also be ensured that the biogrout process is environmentally friendly, restricted to a predefined field and retained there. What preconditions must be fulfilled, what nutrients the organisms require for high motivation and what types of soils this technology can best be applied to are also being investigated.

Through the use of compression members, such as drilled piles or micropiles, biogrout enables completely new perspectives in geotechnology. Such building components are often only used temporarily, so a rever­sible process would permit removal without expensive ­dismantling. In the area of injections for stabilization or sealing purposes, that are required so frequently in tunnel construction or buildings in groundwater, ­biogrout also opens up entire new paths of thinking.

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Urban Development


Traffic > Technology

Quo vadis, geotechnics? Technological developments apparently take place in bursts in which individual, key technologies enable or encourage a whole series of derivative inventions. This can be seen very clearly in, for example, the direct and indirect effects of laser technology, which has now – even in (geo)technical applications – become indispensable: beginning with use in information technology, from simple equipment on the construction site to precision-measuring instruments for monitoring. It is a good example of how quickly the boundaries between different specialist areas in such ­developments are crossed. Dr. Jörg Meier, Gruner Ltd, Basel

However, key technologies are not easy to predict, since they often make use of new or little-known effects. The future technology predictions from the 1950s included vehicles powered by atomic minireactors that we do not – for good reason – see in use today. Laser technology and its applications – quite normal today – were not predicted in 1950. From today’s viewpoint, little has changed as to the unpredictability of such technologies. So a look at possible developments will be limited to the steady further development of current technologies or their convergence. In addition, predictions may be deduced through consideration of currently foreseeable technological needs such as mobility and resources (e.g. energy or water). The possibilities as well as the needs created by the new key technologies remain unconsidered (as are the consequent required/possible solutions). The following figure attempts to estimate possible ­developments in geotechnics. In doing so, the points contained therein remain tied to the same limitations that were depicted in the preceding paragraph. The representation form for the figure was ­selected so that the present stands in the center and possible developments continue in all directions and are projected onto the coming years, which are in the form of concentric circles. In the process, an attempt was made to group together developments from various specialist fields such as design and infrastructure. The developments are arranged like rays around the special areas. The circle sizes were selected to correspond to the impact of the development. For example, with the performance increase in computer technology, the capabilities of software components have also increased. Everything now indicates that this trend will continue unabated. The category of “software” was introduced in the illustration for that purpose. Use of finite-element methods (FEM) that enable a realistic simulation of the deformation behavior and the interaction between ground and building has be54  mailing.150

come common practice. At present, however, the design strategies adopted for the structural design and verifications are still a subject of controversial debate. Various worthwhile extensions of FEM are currently b ­ eing investigated in different research institutions. In future “artificial neural networks”, as a form of ­machine learning or “expanded response surfaces”, could come into practical use and would enable fast prediction of the system behavior on the basis of information already available about the system under analysis. With increasing computational speed, the time required to carry out calculations for technologies such as mathematical optimization (e.g. for parameter and form ­findig) and coupled FEM/DEM* models (e.g. simulations of fracture processes or processes with many individual ­elements) is significantly reduced. It can also be expected that in future, multiphysic simulations, in ­addition to the deformations and settlements prediction, so important in geotechnics, will also take into account additional physical processes (e.g. chemical and thermal processes). With the parallel developments in the field of “augmented reality” and computer-supported object recognition, a “virtual-reality-integrated design” will presumably also be possible in which the structure can be comprehensively and three-dimensionally designed, tested and measured as a virtual structure at a much higher level of detail accuracy that is common today. It can be assumed that technologies from the field of artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to support ­designers and structural engineers in the recognition and elimination of error sources. They can be reflected in “AI-supported modeling” or “AI-supported design.” The future will tell whether the predictions in the figure below become reality. But one thing seems clear: it will bring us some surprises and twists.

* DEM = Discrete Element Method

Extraterrestrial special constructions

Extensive underground transportation links “Swiss Metro”

Buildings for “vertical farming”


Extraterrestrial geothermal energy

Energy harvesting

Energy networks for decentralized supply


2025 +

Infrastructure toughening (environment, attacks)

2015–2025 Completely algorithmic design

Workflowdriven design


Augmented reality

Projectrelated portals (Internet)

Sustainable geothermal energy production

Offshore wind turbines Thermoactive foundations

Today 2011

Artificial neural networks

Singularity Mathematical optimization Virtualrealityintegrated design

Multiphysics simulations

Virtual reality integration of measurement data

Coupled FEM/ DEM models


Automatic adaptive behavior prediction

Construction materials with sensor capacity

Alternative drive technologies Comprehensive environmental balance sheet

Autonomous sensor networks

Extended response surfaces

AI-supported modeling

Environmental damage caused by geothermal energy production

Construction technology

Online Monitoring


Geothermal energy production at extreme depths

Remote monitoring


AIsupported design

Geothermal energy from microTBMs

Geothermal energy

Energy piles



AIsupported control of geothermal energy

Biological soil improvement (biogrouting)

Partly autonomous construction machines

Sensor clouds

Automatic object and mechanism recognition

This graphic is based on Michell Zappa’s published work “Envisioning the near future of technology” (CC-BY-SA),

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Urban Development


Traffic > Technology

Digital prototypes and virtual engineering in the construction industry Given the enormous versatility and valuable data provided by numerical methods, digital prototyping will prevail over the medium to long term as a strategy and a widely used tool in civil engineering. Results can be visualized three-dimensional in virtual reality quality, discussed ­online with customers and examined to find opportunities for optimization. Relevant scenarios can be simulated, ­visualized and used to train emergency units, ­especially in fire safety and prevention. Erwin G. Schnell, Gruner Ltd, Basel

The story so far After being introduced in the field of statics and dynamics, particularly structural analysis (FEM), numerical methods and simulation procedures (CFD) have also begun providing reliable answers to a wide range of technical questions in general fluid dynamics as well as aero and gas dynamics. For many engineering applications, FEM and CFD programs have become a fundamental part of countless development processes. For some time now, more and more expensive hardware prototypes have been giving way to their digital counter56  mailing.150

parts – especially in aviation, automotive, mechanical and plant engineering. One of the outstanding pioneers of digital product development is CDadapco, an engineering software supplier. For 30 years, it has worked with prominent partners from a wide variety of industries to supply powerful, reliable simulation tools in connection with highly effective, world-class solutions in the digital implementation of industrial development processes.

Entering the digital era

Digital prototyping strategy

Although the first commercial CFD programs were launched at the end of 1980, they were initially only adopted by the aviation industry and later by the ­automotive, mechanical and plant engineering sectors. The increasing availability of complex physical/ chemical models combined with the processing power required to simulate transient, viz. time dependent processes brought the digital era into the realm of civil engineering.

Given the rising development and production costs, digital prototyping in automotive, mechanical and plant engineering harbored an enormous potential for ­savings, particularly with regard to materials and ­prototypes. The ability to allocate to individual units represented another powerful argument, which in civil engineering, however, proved rather counterproductive. This is a discipline that only produces one prototype: the finished product. And, except for prefabricated homes, it generally has a lot size of one unit. A ­  closer mailing.150  57

Traffic > Technology

examination, however, reveals another reason for the construction industry’s widespread disinterest in digital tools: The project stakeholders have different responsibilities, positions and relationships, which result in a different attitude toward resources, efficiency and sustainability. In the case of engineered industrial products like airplanes, which cost roughly as much as a major construction project, the manufacturer (general contractor) has to make every possible efforts in terms of resources, efficiency, low operating costs, etc. to persuade the airline that will be buying and operating the plane that its investment offers a good value and a long service life. In large construction projects, by contrast, this role falls to the investor, who does everything he can to minimize the production costs, irrespective of the f­ ollow-up costs for the operator, who – unlike in the airplane example – is usually not the investor.

Central management of data and processes Adding value in car industry







Initiative/ Estimation






Adding value in construction industry

Urban Development






Initiative/ Estimation





Loosely coupled processes

Clearly, profits are earned at very different times and under very different premises in the two value chains. The actual product creation process, however, is almost identical and digital modeling can be done very similarly. Since in civil engineering the prototype is the finished product, it only makes sense to pull all the stops in advance to guarantee the structure is built efficiently, effectively and flawlessly. If you replace the lot size with the number of operating years, it becomes possible to develop a highly efficient solution that offers compelling economic and environmental benefits.

For a commercial analyst, the declines in value at the interfaces between the individual process phases are additional investments that have to be added to the process to restore it to the previous stage of development.

Process execution


Manufacturers initially switched to digital development processes to save on materials. While this focus was tightly linked to the introduction and deliberate application of powerful, reliable simulation and forecasting methods in aviation, automotive, mechanical and plant engineering, the construction industry often focused single-mindedly on material savings without numerically checking the possible consequences adequately.

Development processes can only be successfully digitized if all process participants can access an extensive database containing all the geometric information ­required for digital modeling in the form of 3-D CAD models.

A very promising approach has been developed by the 5D Initiative co-launched by Züblin/Strabag AG. The following figure compares the value created in current production processes in the automotive and construction industries. This illustrates what enormous potential could be unleashed by pursuing a digital prototyping strategy.

Spreitenbach Environmental Arena, Zurich, in 3-D. Courtesy of rené schmid architekten, Zurich

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Virtual fire So-called accidental situations are a major concern in civil engineering. These include all types of fire scenarios in public buildings and structures (industrial structures, shopping and conference centers, educational build­ings, road and railway tunnels, etc.)

Spreitenbach Environmental Arena: photorealistic visualization of airflow from ceiling exhausts.

This one basic requirement has made it extremely difficult for numerical methods and procedures to gain ground in the construction industry. Neither manufacturers nor operators or investors are willing to pay the costs of producing and maintaining a digital model, even if numerical simulation can provide a vast amount of valuable information about the physical, energy and safety properties of the future building or structure, not to mention simplifying the interfaces between trades and improving the transparency of the entire construction project. In the digital model, all of the stationary or transient physical and chemical parameters (speeds, pressures, temperatures, forces, densities, concentrations, etc.) calculated in a simulation are stored at every point of the computational or event domain and can be output and presented as quantitative values. This opens up a wide range of applications in the construction industry. Thanks to the impressive and extremely helpful further development in the area of virtual visualization tools, which are already being used by architectural firms and project offices, the simulation results can be presented in a very vivid and generally understandable way.



To ensure that buildings meet fire safety regulations, fire inspectors and insurance companies require civil engineers to submit exhaustive fire protection and smoke removal plans as early as the permit phase. More and more these plans are prepared and validated on the basis of numerical simulation methods. The simulation results are then input into other analyses such as evacuation simulations. They can even be used after the project is completed to effectively prepare for and carry out the kind of cold smoke tests that are required for final acceptance. If these data are then imported to virtual visualizations, the computed results can be presented clearly and ­completely – including the creation of digital training scenarios for firefighters and other emergency units.

Fire simulation for a subway station

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Urban Development


Traffic > Technology

Virtual water Since Basel’s water supply played a key role in the ­company’s founding by Heinrich Gruner 150 years ago, it is particularly significant that Gruner Ltd added ­numerical hydrodynamic flow simulations to its service portfolio in 2011. Here, too, all digital modeling tools are used to obtain solid data on the functionality and capability of facilities and structures. The results can be vividly and realistically presented using sophisticated 3-D visualizations. Mixing and contingency basin of ProRheno AG of Basel

Façades and thin-walled structures Façade simulation is also gaining importance given the growing complexity of modern outer façades. Numerical analyses not only determine whether enough air can flow into the building through the façade if an accidental situation occurs, but can also simulate the chimney ­effect in the air gap between the ventilated façade and the building structure. Furthermore filigree façades coverings and thin-walled building structures are aerodynamically active; in other words, they respond to the aerodynamic forces and dynamic stimulation produced by wind loads. Their responses to fluid flows can be analyzed by a relatively new discipline known as fluid-structure interaction (FSI). FSI tools can visualize and quantitatively capture the behavior of structures and structural elements under the influence of dynamic stimulation. These simulations can deliver economic benefits such as material savings and damage prevention.

Façade flow for the Basel Exhibition Center

Sustainability and comfort Compared to all the responsibilities and requirements that go into efficient, cutting-edge facility management, much less effort is spent on making buildings sustainable, energy-efficient and comfortable prior to use. Here, too, a numerical approach can provide vast amounts of information by enabling various disciplines to analyze the digital prototype. With only a few changes in the geometric discretization and general conditions, one digital model can be used to find definitive answers to a wide variety of questions about energy efficiency, shading, solar yield, indoor air quality, etc. Seasonally relevant operating conditions are identified based on local long-term studies and exhaustively analyzed in worst- case scenarios.

Building aerodynamics


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Solar yield

External aerodynamics by courtesy of Syngenta

Environment and external impact

The virtual mole

Until now, this article has only covered civil engineer­ ing applications of numerical simulation that focus on the buildings themselves. However, many observers – especially in the public sector – are increasingly inter­ ested in how building aerodynamics and other properties affect the local environment.

One highly interesting cutting-edge application is the simulation of mining drills. A drill bit’s service life depends, among other things, on the distribution of the excavated material around the exposed surfaces and along the drill shaft. Simulations can help users calculate how quickly the drill needs to advance and rotate and how much fluid is required given the pressure conditions.

There is a large body of evidence showing that extensive man-made structures have a significant impact on local microclimates. This is a strong argument for using CFD simulations to calculate not only the wind loads affect­ ing a structure, but also the impact of buildings on the topology and urban environment around them. Just a few examples include things such as how large build­ings block primary airflow affects pathways in urban areas, velocity distributions and maximum velocities in urban canyons and public squares, as well as microclimates in the entrance areas to shopping centers and office build­ings.

Drill bit erosion

Summary Using 3-D visualizations of real-life projects to demonstrate

structures averaging 40 to 60 years, these sums can easily

digital prototyping is an excellent way to show its full range

exceed the 1 to 5% of the total volume spent on the digital

of applications, foster acceptance and encourage project

prototype. Carmakers embraced digital prototyping to

team members to use this technology. One good argument for

­produce large lot sizes more cost-effectively. Construction

digital prototyping comes from an analysis of follow-up

firms, for their part, are discovering the monetary poten-

costs for finished projects: often, they are for warranty

tial of digital prototyping in terms of reducing follow-up

claims, retrofitting and conversion. In these cases, ceremo-

costs and maximizing the years of operation. The efficient

nial ribbon-cutters are quickly replaced by construction

implementation of digital prototyping requires large-scale

workers making improvements and repairs. Another argu-

PR campaigns and raising awareness among builders, con-

ment comes from annual operating costs, which can come in

tracters, end users and other parties who ultimately have to

well above the forecasted limits. With the design live of

bear the costs.

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Sound is in the air

A short story by Dr. Markus Ringger Gruner Ltd, Basel

Mrs. Bell, an employee at the newly founded Department of Sound Design at Gruner Ltd in Basel, was not in a hurry at all. The somewhat grumpy retiree Mr. Futz had filed a complaint with the City Council: the sporadic appearance of a plop-like sound right in front of his street window caused him much discomfort. He presumed it was due to the newly installed sound system on the sidewalk of the Freie Strasse. The City Council assigned Mrs. Bell to investigate and, if possible, refute his assumption. She was not happy at all. Taking the necessary measurements would require many hours – hours that would likely be spent waiting idly and in vain for a randomly occurring noise. Mrs. Bell was soon stuck in a traffic jam at the St. Alban-Anlage. For once she welcomed the traffic in and around the city of Basel. It allowed her to delay the inevitable. Directly in front of her lay the Aeschenplatz, which, though busy with cars, buses, trams and pedestrians, exuded calmness. From far away she faintly detected the hustle and bustle of the train station: the entering and exiting of trains, the announcements over the loudspeakers, and the occasional whistle. Just a few decades ago the Aeschenplatz had been an undifferentiated soundscape: acoustic events in the background used to get lost because of a sound overload in the foreground. As a result, navigation in traffic had been impaired considerably. The city made the long-awaited improvements by dampening immediate traffic noise in the foreground, and amplifying and scattering the sound of the station in the background. In addition the city skillfully placed groups of trees and special sound installations, and divided traffic through overpasses and underpasses. Due to these provisions the perceivable acoustic space was deepened and navigation in the environment was facilitated.

Noise was not any longer just avoided but selectively reduced, enhanced and directed.

Mrs. Bell turned right, in the direction of the Bankverein. Like the Aeschenplatz, the soundscape of the whole city had changed dramatically over the last 50 years. The observations gathered during the renovation of the Aeschenplatz confirmed the results of noise effect research: sound emitted from the environment aids in navigating space. Environmental sound helps to distinguish a business district from a park. These new observations triggered a rethinking of noise control. The proactive distribution and redirection of sound replaced the mere banishment of noise through sound-proof ­windows and sound barriers. Noise was not any longer just avoided but selectively reduced, enhanced and directed. Mrs. Bell drove down the Steinenberg and passed the new Stadtcasino. Just the week before she had read an article in the newspaper about the new building. Apart from the remarkable architecture, the author especially praised the innovative and excellent acoustics of the concert hall. Through lockable hatches built into the structure, a new relationship was created between the environment outside and the concert hall inside.

Now the city outside could partake of the concert inside, and sound from the city could be selectively embedded into the concert. For example, for John Cage’s 4’33’’ different hatches were opened and closed at various intervals in such a manner that the sound from the city took over the function of a musical instrument. Mrs. Bell circled the Stadtcasino and approached the former Falknerstrasse. She noticed already the gargling of the Birsig from far away. The uncovering of the brook and the subsequent renovation of the Barfüsserplatz were both projects that still filled her with great satisfaction, particularly because sound design played such a predominant role in the transformation. Her team had been instructed to disperse the sound of the Birsig in a controlled fashion through some of the surrounding alleys. To predict the acoustical effect of individual measures, extensive computer simulations were essential. Together with engineers and sound designers they had fulfilled the assignment. First, in order to diversify the sound profile of the water, they built barriers in the Birsig. Second, they strategically placed walls to redirect sound around corners into the alleys. By request of the restaurant fumare non fumare, they fixed hydrophones on the bottom of the Birsig in order to transmit into the dining rooms the kind of gargling only noticeable on the river floor. Walking around in the Birsig area was now accompanied by swooshing and gargling that increased or decreased in volume relative to the distance from the source. A walk in the Old Town became not only a visual but also a fulfilling acoustical experience. Mrs. Bell decided to take a little stroll through the alleys after work. After crossing the bridge over the Birsig, Mrs. Bell turned into the Streitgasse and halted abruptly. A pedestrian had almost failed to notice her silent electrical car. The rapidly increasing spread of barely audible electrical vehicles further supported the movement towards proactive sound design. For safety reasons, loudspeakers had to be placed on vehicles because of the absence of engine noise: vehicle noise was artificially generated and therefore had become manageable. Thanks to GPS, vehicles were now configured to emit sound according to place and time. They sounded differently at night in a quiet neighborhood than during the day on a busy commercial street. Traffic noise became precisely manageable. Mrs. Bell arrived at the lower half of the Freie Strasse. The pedestrians stood closely together. The new sound installation was still very popular. The installation resulted from a contest for acoustical intervention, which were now held more and more. For this sound installation, weight sensors had been built into the walkway. Whenever someone walked down the sidewalk, the sensors translated the steps into the sounds of a piano, as if a cat was crawling over its keyboard. The more pedestrians walked on it, the more varied, but mainly the louder, the melody got. Mrs. Bell had some sympathy for the residents’ concern after all. At that moment she saw a shadow in the window on the opposite side of the street. Mr. Futz was already waiting impatiently.

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A day in the life Anthea and ComCom 2052

by Dr. Patrick Martin Gruner Ltd, Basel

ComCom woke her with the sound of bells, set the bedroom lighting to a warm orange and wished her good morning. Anthea sat up, sleepily rubbed her side and looked at the Alpine panorama currently being displayed on the walls. A meadow in morning light, a pair of small birds, twittering quietly, hopped over rocks in the foreground; there was still fog in the valley and the first reddish sunbeams flashed above a mountain ridge in the east. ComCom came up with something new every morning. Anthea decided once again that she had to talk to it about the difference between beauty and kitsch, but in matters of taste it just seemed to be simply too stupid and now, just after waking up, she was not yet in the mood to discuss issues with a software system that would probably never understand it anyway. She got up and went into the bathroom. The temperature was set at a cozy 23 °C, but Anthea still shivered a little. ComCom reported. “I noticed that you have a slightly increased body temperature. However, blood pressure, pulse and all other parameters are normal. How do you feel?” She replied, “Only a little sore throat thank you.” “Currently, there is a high incidence of respiratory infections in the greater Basel area. Would you like a ViroCid?” “No thanks, ComCom, I would prefer to wait. If it doesn’t get better then I would be glad to take one.” On the way to the kitchen, Anthea asked, “What’s happening today?” “There are no new messages. It’s Lysander’s birthday the day after tomorrow and you wanted to get something for him. A meeting with the architects for the new university building is scheduled for 10 o’clock.” She filled her cup with strong coffee and warmed her muesli in the microwave (she always liked it that way). When she sat down at the table, its glass panel lit up and showed her news from around the world. She scanned the political news and weather catastrophes and got caught by at an article about a pilot project beginning in England to obtain clean energy from neutrinos. In Blackburn, Lancashire, an array of 4,000 small but deep holes had been drilled in the rock and provided with neutrino converters. If the experiment succeeded, it could lead to a new energy source which could saturate mankind’s inexhaustible hunger for energy. Anthea sighed, rose from the table and placed the cup and muesli bowl in the ultrasound cleaner. “What shall I wear today?” she more or less asked herself as she stood in front of the overflowing wardrobe. Since no one else was in the room, ComCom felt that the questions was addressed to him and replied, “This afternoon it will reach 26 °C with cloudy skies and no precipitation is expected. I recommend the short green costume.” “But it makes me look like I’m wearing a potato sack!” First, Anthea put on a pink dress, then the green potato sack and finally the chic chameleon dress. She set its color to grass green and left the apartment. She stepped into the street and it only took a few moments until a ComCar stopped. It was a spacious, dark VW-Tata limousine. She got in and greeted Li-Li and Reto, who she often encountered here since they had almost the same route. After she had fastened

her safety belt, the electric drive set the vehicle in motion, humming quietly. Li-Li and Reto returned to their books and Anthea also rolled out her pad. She studied the 3-D plans for the university building once again. The journey was uneventful. Only once did the autopilot have to avoid a cat that had run into the street. The Gruner Engineers building was eight stories high, and the façade had the typical matte black color of solar panels that dominated every modern city. The building was completely clad in bioenergy solar panels which generated electricity from both direct sunlight and the diffuse light on the north side. The building was almost completely energy-autonomous. At night, power came from a semiconductor storage in the basement which was recharged during the day. Anthea entered the building and made for her office. All the doors opened automatically ahead of her because she was reliably identified by her ID chip and facial recognition. She entered her office. Light and temperature were instantly set in accordance with her comfort profile and the last files she had worked on appeared on her desk’s work panel. Anthea had been a staff bioengineer at Gruner Engineers for almost twenty years and now managed the bioconstruction department. During her biology studies, she really had not intended to become involved with something as technical as targeted cultivation of macrostructures. She had originally wanted to help in the reforestation of tropical forests. But Professor Gearloose had finally convinced her to accept the diploma project on “epigenetic design with hardwood plants.” She became nationally famous with her doctoral thesis: the first European cultivated residential structure. In the following years, she worked with façade components and individual building elements at engineering companies around the world. Today, three decades after starting, she was now planning entire building complexes at Gruner Engineers, in organisms that were originally derived from larches. Their special needle roofs make Anthea’s buildings recognizable from a great distance, especially in the fall. Attempts with broad-leafed trees failed repeatedly until a few years ago. For a long time, control of form design really only existed for larches. Although there was always the tempting possibility, with broad-leafed trees, of having fruit growing right in the dining room. The Gruner Engineers office building was the first commercial building in Switzerland to be based on a broad-leafed tree – a beech. In the conference room, all the participants sat at workplaces along the walls. The space in the center was needed for the almost room-sized holographic projection. Whoever was speaking could put themselves in the middle and explain their ideas directly to the others from inside the projection. ComCom chose the appropriate section based on the conversation context and only occasionally needed directions from the speaker. Some participants were only virtually present and it was their holographic projections that sat along the walls or stood in the center. Today, the architecture team was discussing their proposals with the engineers and everyone had some kind of criticism of them. The mechanical engineers required more space for the installations, the structural engineers reported concerns about some highly risky construction details and even Anthea’s department had its problems, because it involved an addition to an existing tree house and there was concern about defensive reactions between two organisms.

After the meeting, ComCom reported that it had rejected two calls from Anthea’s mother. She had wanted to remind Anthea of her brother’s birthday. She called her mother back and explained to her that she was naturally aware and in addition, had already been reminded by ComCom. “This idiotic ComCom irritates me!” her mother complained. “Your father talks more to this stupid thing than he does to me!” Anthea saw her father sitting in the background. He waved to her and called, “At least it doesn’t contradict me all the time!” Anthea spent her lunch break with some colleagues on the roof top of the office building in the shade of the house beech. In the evening she left somewhat earlier because she wanted to pick up her husband from the railway station. He and the children had been at his mother’s in Rome over the weekend, The TurboTrain was bound to be crowded because there were still not enough transalpine lines. Railway traffic in Europe had increased considerably since the United Nations had imposed a drastic worldwide tax on aircraft and rocket fuel in 2040. A high-speed train raced through two transalpine tunnels every four minutes. The other tunnels were reserved for freight traffic. For safety reasons, more was not possible. The rail operation ran 24 hours a day and ComCom had fortunately found last-minute seats on the 3 p.m. express. She went to the station by trolley. The platform for long-distance trains was on the third basement level. She had to cross the plaza in front of the station first. When she was in the middle of the plaza, it suddenly began to pour. Her dress immediately began to fade in the spots where it had become damp. “ComCom, you promised me dry weather today. So what do you think this is?” The tiny loudspeaker in her ear replied, “I am really sorry, Anthea, but El Niño is making it really hard for me to make reliable forecasts this year. I will recalibrate my model parameters tonight.” Terrible confusion prevailed on the platform, but she was directed to the precise spot where her husband and children got off. Her daughter ran to her. “Hello, Mama! Do you have a new dress?” “It’s the chameleon dress. I was caught in the rain and now it has a short circuit.” Her suit fabric now changed between green and red, depending on the viewpoint. Some people found this chic, she found it gruesome. Her husband gave her a long embrace and comforted her. “You are safe from that kind of thing in Rome. The last time it rained there was Christmas 2048.” “Yes, I remember, and I was right in the middle of it with my elegant holiday hairdo.”

Her dress was flashing in every color of the rainbow when they reached home. “ComCom, my dress got wet, but now it’s dry again and it’s acting crazy. Can you please check it?” After a few seconds ComCom replied, “Unfortunately, the diagnosis has revealed irreparable damage. I’m sorry.” Somewhat irritated, Anthea went to the garbage chute, took off the dress and stuffed it inside. In the city recycling facility, the dress was disintegrated, all valuable elements removed by the ionizer using terahertz radiation and fed to recycling. Only a heap of ash composed of comparatively valueless materials such as silicone, carbon, etc. was left in the end.

“I have you to thank for this, ComCom!” “But I advised the green dress, Anthea. And it would still be green.” “You can talk, silicone brain – you also claimed that it wouldn’t rain!” “Unfortunately, I am not omni­ scient – especially with respect to events that lie in the future.”

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A journey through time First generation

Carl Heinrich Gruner 1833–1906 His connection with English industry enabled Carl Heinrich Gruner to establish his “Technical Office of Heinrich Gruner, Civil Engineer” in Basel on June 4, 1862. At the time, gasworks were being built in every Swiss city. Water supplies were also in need of improvement and expansion. Carl Heinrich Gruner decided to return to Dresden in 1873. In association with the hydrologist A. Thiem, he worked on his own account or as the representative of water utility companies on a large number of municipal water supply facilities in Germany and the Middle East. In 1888 Carl Heinrich Gruner relocated to Basel again.

Second generation

Dr. h.c. Heinrich Eduard Gruner 1873–1947 Heinrich Eduard Gruner found his way to the engineering department through the land ­management engineering school at the Federal Polytechnic. He began his professional career with trips to England and the USA. When he returned home (1902), he had a major task to solve, together with German engineers. The Laufenburg power plant project. The barrage foundation, which was executed by C. Zschokke using compressed-air caissons, was the most difficult construction task. Following this project, H. E. Gruner opened his own office. In 1930, the Federal Technical High School (ETH) in Zurich awarded him an honorary doctorate in technical sciences in recognition of his participation in the development of Swiss h ­ ydraulic engineering. He was a supporter of international technological and scientific institutions such as the World Power Conference and the Comité International des Grands Barrages, where he ­successfully served for years as president.

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Third generation

Eduard Gruner 1905–1984

Dr. h.c. Georg Gruner 1908–2004

Georg Gruner successfully completed his apprenticeship and journeyman years at various construction sites in Switzerland and abroad before he joined his father’s office as a p ­ artner in 1938. Eduard Gruner only joined after the death of his father. The Gruner office recognized in time that specialization in hydraulic engineering was risky for a large office in the long run. Two new departments were created: one for civil engineering and one for structural engineering. The office changeover took place at the right time and new, major projects could be tackled after World War II. In Switzerland these were hydroelectric power plants, industrial buildings and residental buildings. Abroad, dam ­ structures such as the Konar Dam in India and power plants such as Baygorria on the Rio Negro (Uruguay) could be planned and managed, designed and supervised.

From the Gruner ­engineering office to the Gruner Group In 1970, the legal form was changed from a general partnership to a ­c orporation.

Dieter Ernst 1937 After various stays abroad, civil engineer Dieter Ernst ( ETH ) joined Gruner Ltd as director of the structural and bridge engineering department. At that time the department was the central pillar of the engineering office. In 1972, a new generation takes charge and he replaces Georg Gruner as CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Dieter Ernst successfully drove the expansion of the Gruner Group forward with farsightedness and integrated the full range of planning services. Dieter Ernst was a member of the Board of Directors from 1974 to 2009. In 2000, he was elected president and handed over the CEO position to Flavio Casanova. His son, Thomas Ernst, took over as president on 1 May 2009.

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mailing.150 by Gruner Group Editors Eliane Mattenberger Sylvia Bezzola Marketing, Communications Gruner Ltd, Basel Graphic Photos and images from own archive or made available by courtesy. Design Brenneisen Communications, Basel Printing Schwabe AG, Muttenz Copyright Reprinting or other reproduction, even partial, is prohibited without prior explicit permission from the publisher. Gruner Ltd Consulting Engineers Gellertstrasse 55 CH-4020 Basel Phone +41 848GRUNER or +41 61 317 61 61 Fax +41 61 312 40 09

150 years

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